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July 5, 2016

June’s top stories: Switzerland opens longest rail tunnel and Femern Link Contractors wins €3.4bn contract

Switzerland has opened the world's longest and deepest railway tunnel, Gotthard Base Tunnel, Femern Link Contractors to design and build a road and rail tunnel Fehmarnbelt link in Copenhagen. wraps up the key headlines from June.

By Prasanth Katam

Gotthard top

Switzerland opens world’s longest railway tunnel

Gotthard text

Switzerland has opened the world’s longest and deepest railway tunnel, Gotthard Base Tunnel, connecting Erstfeld (Uri) with Bodio (Ticino) and passing below Sedrun (Graubunden).

The first flat low-level route through the Alps, the 57.09km-long Gotthard Base Tunnel comprises a 151.84km network of tunnels, shafts and passages forms a part of the AlpTransit project.

Wholly owned subsidiary of Swiss Federal Railways, AlpTransit Gotthard has constructed the Gotthard Base Tunnel.

Femern Link Contractors wins €3.4bn contract in Copenhagen

Road and rail text

Femern Link Contractors joint venture has secured three contracts with a combined value of €3.4bn from the Danish government to design and build a road and rail tunnel Fehmarnbelt link in Copenhagen.

Once completed, it will be the longest immersed road and rail tunnel in the world and will reduce travelling time between the German and Danish coasts.

The immersed tunnel will be 18km, connecting Denmark’s Lolland Falster region with Germany’s Schleswig Holstein region.

Auckland Transport begins construction on $1.7bn City Rail Link project

New Zealand’s Auckland Transport has started construction on the NZ$2.5bn ($1.7bn) City Rail Link (CRL) project from the Britomart Train Station.

The CRL underground rail line will link Britomart and the city centre with the existing western line near Mt Eden, as well as allow trains to run both ways through Britomart.

The project will see construction of 3.4km of twin-bore tunnels up to 42m beneath the city, most of them planned to be built with a tunnel boring machine (TBM).

Hyperloop One and Summa sign a deal for first Hyperloop system in Russia

Hyperloop text

Hyperloop One has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with infrastructure firm Summa Group to explore building a Hyperloop system in Russia.

The companies have agreed to conduct a feasibility study to identify a route for passengers to connect with Moscow’s transportation grid.

Hyperloop is a high-speed transportation concept developed by Elon Musk. Designed to move pods of people at high-speed, It involves firing frictionless vehicles through a near-vacuum tunnel. This solar-powered concept is expected to be reliable regardless of weather conditions.

Alstom provides Australia’s first ETCS level 2 signalling in New South Wales

Alstom has delivered, deployed, and tested Australia’s first European Train Control System (ETCS) level 2 signalling in New South Wales as a pilot trial.

The trial is a part of the Automatic Train Protection project for the Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW), which involved the installation of on-board and trackside equipment. It covered four test trains in an area of 11km from the suburbs of Arncliffe to Oatley in the south of Sydney.

The project enables TfNSW and government-owned train operator Sydney Trains to test the performance of the ETCS system, which if successful will be installed across critical sections of Sydney’s rail network. Implementing ETCS will help increase both safety and capacity of the rail corridors.

Akiem collaborates with Bombardier for 52 Traxx locomotives

Akiem Traxx locomotive text

Akiem has entered into a framework agreement with Bombardier Transportation for 52 Traxx alternating current (AC) and multi-system (MS) locomotives.

The deal is conditional upon financial closing related to Akiem. Valued at a list price of approximately $107m, the first batch is also subject to the fulfilment of conditions, with first deliveries expected by next year.

Akiem’s CEO Fabien Rochefort said: "This significant investment with Bombardier will extend Akiem’s fleet up to 100 TRAXX locomotives by 2018.

Eurotunnel to continue operating Channel Tunnel despite Brexit turmoil

Groupe Eurotunnel has announced that Channel Tunnel will not be affected by the UK’s decision to withdraw from European Union (EU).

The Channel Tunnel was established under the binational Treaty of Canterbury signed by the British and French governments in February 1986. The 50.5km tunnel runs between Kent in the UK and Pas-de-Calais in northern France and it will continue its operations despite the Brexit turmoil.

As the UK is not a part of the Schengen area, people and goods travelling through the Channel Tunnel will remain subject to current border control protection provided by the UK Border Force, French Police Aux Frontiers, and Douanes.

Midland Metro extension plan receives approval from British Government

Midland metro text

The UK Government has given approval for plans to extend the Midland Metro in Wolverhampton, England.

The £18m extension plan was given approval by the British Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin and is part of a larger £120m redevelopment programme of the city centre.

The Midland Metro project is being executed by the transport division of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) in collaboration with the City of Wolverhampton Council and the UK-based real estate developer Neptune Developments.

NSW government commits $8.86bn for Sydney metro rail projects

The New South Wales (NSW) government in Australia has announced that A$12bn ($8.86bn) in funding will be made available for Sydney metro rail projects over the next four years.

Of the proposed funding, A$6.2bn ($4.58bn) has been designated for Sydney Metro City and Southwest, with the remainding A$5.8bn ($4.28bn) for Sydney Metro Northwest.

NSW’s Premier Mike Baird said: "When this government says it will build something we get on and build it. Today’s announcement means we have billions of dollars set aside to deliver this transformational project for NSW."

Stadler wins legal approval in Sweden to supply 33 KISS trains to Mälab

Stadler has received legal approval to go ahead with the SEK3.5bn ($424.4m) order to supply 33 four-carriage, double-decker trains to Swedish company Mälab.

Stadler received the order for KISS trains through a tendering process in June last year. During that time, a competitor raised an objection and launched a challenge in a competent court in Stockholm against the tendering process.

The court has since dismissed the objection, meaning an agreement can be signed between Stadler and Swedish management company Transitio.

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